A new gun control bill filed this week by Virginia Democratic Del. Dan Helmer would authorize the state attorney general to exercise discretion over which states’ concealed carry permits the Commonwealth would continue recognizing.
Currently, Virginia’s concealed carry reciprocity law recognized every other out-of-state concealed carry permit. However, Helmer’s proposal would limit the number of out-of-state carry permits recognized by Virginia if the attorney general says their permit requirements are not sufficient.
“This is certainly more restrictive than the current process, which recognizes everyone’s permit. He can start saying, ‘well, for this reason or that reason, I’m not going to recognize their permit now,’” Virginia lawyer George Lyon of Arsenal Attorneys told the Washington Examiner.
”There are provisions where people can be denied a permit,” Lyon added. “For example, if they’ve had a stalking conviction or if they’ve had a drug conviction or possibly multiple DUI convictions.”
The Republican-controlled General Assembly tweaked the concealed carry reciprocity law in 2015 after getting into a disagreement with Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, over gun-related issues.
After Republicans initially would not budge over the passage of two specific measures, Herring stopped observing the concealed carry reciprocity agreements Virginia had with 25 states.
Six of those states, which once recognized Virginia’s concealed carry permit on the agreement that the state would reciprocate, severed their relationship with Virginia as well.
Eventually, Republicans and Democrats compromised on the measures. One was linked to domestic violence and court orders of protection, while the other was related to state police being on hand at gun shows to conduct background checks of private sellers.
Herring would restore not just the original reciprocity agreements but also ensured expanded it to reciprocity agreements with every state that also offers one. As such, anyone with an out-of-state concealed carry permit could do so in Virginia.
Incoming majority Democrats have proposed a bevy of new gun control laws that have led most of the state’s county jurisdictions to declare themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
Like Democrat-declared “sanctuary cities” for illegal aliens, officials in gun sanctuaries have vowed not to help the state enforce new gun laws they believe are unconstitutional.
Herring has declared the gun sanctuaries null and void but has not offered any legal opinion about illegal immigration sanctuaries in the state.